Have you ever noticed that life tends to hand out lemons with the left hand and lemonade with the right hand?
Tuesday night, still reeling from the knowledge that our dog has cancer, I was laying in bed, my arms flung wide. You might imagine this was Drama Personified, but it wasn't. My lymph nodes were so swollen I couldn't put my arms down.
"Great," I snuffled nasally to my husband, because my sinuses were burning and my eyes were running, "Next it will be the thyroid, and then I'll go to this awesome social media conference on Thursday looking like a runaway boa that swallowed a Bocce ball."
He snorted at me in laughter, which was not the sympathy I was begging for, pitifully.
"It will move up to the pituitary and then we'll all be sorry," I said threateningly and vengefully.
He fast-forwarded through the American Idol auditions.
He looked at me.
I sniffed again.
We looked at each other.
And we flew out of the bed. Burning! Burning plastic! Our house was on fire. I checked the upstairs, kids' rooms first. He took the downstairs. We sniffed outlets, unplugged appliances, scoped out the attic. I searched corners, felt walls, he opened doors, touched floors. We spent an entire hour trying to find the fire.
You are thinking, why not call the fire department, you idiots?
Trust me, we said the same thing to ourselves, but with no smoke or any evidence we felt too stupid to do so. We'd spend a bit of time checking this or that, try to settle in to bed, then leap up, panicked again. I'd shake the carbon monoxide detector and he'd check the smoke detector.
All while trying hard not to wake the children.
10 p.m. I said, "My arm pits hurt," and my lovely husband looked at me like I had two heads, and climbed back up into the attic. I walked back to the master bedroom and picked up the phone and called my best friend in the neighborhood. Her husband answered.
"Hello, Julie," he said. I like to think everyone amuses him as much as it seems I do.
"Does your house smell like it's got a plastic fire?" I asked without hesitation or pleasantries.
"My what? What? Why would you ask that?" he said, much more calmly than you might imagine. But I'm sure I'm nothing compared to astronauts on the space phone with him saying things like, "Houston, large chunks of Vital Parts of the Shuttle just broke off during re-entry."
In the background his wife, my friend is calling out, "Is that Julie? Is that Julie? She's calling about the burning smell isn't she?!?"
I can hear him move the phone from his mouth and say, "The what?"
He pauses and listens, I hear her in the background. I can't make out much beyond, "Stinking AWFUL...sick as a dog...the CAR...!!"
He gets back on the phone, "Well you ladies with your Spidey sense of smell can apparently note the benzene levels in the air simply by sniffing. I'm to tell you that YES we smell that and it's STINKING AWFUL and she pulled the car off the road on the way home from church several times she was so convinced the car had to be on fire. So NO it's not your house, it's just the chemical plants to the north of us."
"Oh, okay, well that's a relief," I said, "No, wait, no it's NOT, not a relief AT ALL," I asserted.
We traded a few details, and I issued an abject apology for calling so late, he extended reassurances it was okay, and we hung up...safe in the knowledge that our homes weren't burning but the toxic plants north of us were emitting foul odors that did who knows what.
The smell was so dreadful even those of us used to the stench of the plants to the north panicked; my husband assumed some plant must have had a leak or blown up. And yet...no news stories to that effect.
Just a stench that made us ill, all night.
Obviously, then, the thing to do Wednesday night is join my fab girl friends for a chick flick.
We went to see 27 Dresses, which was good...really beyond my expectations. It was at least 27 laughs---literally laughing out loud---especially during the Benny and the Jets scene at the bar.
All of us enjoyed the movie, overall. Especially because we were Out, which we relish the way a dog who finally finished digging a hole his size and escaped under the fence would.
There were some true tender moments in the movie, too. Good chemistry between the characters, as well.
It was an enjoyable evening with nice friends and a good movie. I was impressed because it was better written and acted than I expected. I recommend the film if it is the sort of thing you like.
But it did open up a slight moral dilemma. One character was a writer and wrote something that upset another character. It brought back up the question many of us have asked: are people we know fair fodder for writing? People in our real lives? People we know or read online? Other bloggers? Things we read, such as blog posts, emails, news stories, etc? Are other people and the things they do fair fodder for our blogs (or other writing)?
Copyright 2007 Julie Pippert
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